This time, Jemery is looking for a cheaper alternative to the ‘official’ Manfrotto tripod.
One misconception that rookies might have is thinking that their old tripod will work just fine for shooting videos with an HDSLR… please don’t make the same mistake I did. If you are going to get serious about shooting video, there are things you will have to purchase in addition to your camera. A follow focus is a must for video, along with a slider of some sort. I had been shooting with a very dependable Targus tripod, just a run of the mill light weight – take it anywhere system… it took only a few shoots to look like an fool thinking that I would be alright with what I had.
Being budget conscious I scoured local stores first, then Amazon for a tripod that would fit my budget (needed to stay under $200) and provide stability along with a fluid head. I purchased the Ravelli AVTP Professional 75mm Tripod and have been playing with it for a little over a week now. The thing is a beast, which in my opinion is a good thing. It is stable enough to hold my Indislider Mini and have it stay perfectly steady even with the added weight of a battery grip. The panning is stiff but smooth. It only took me a couple tries to get the hang of it, but I was rolling well when I was set to shoot. It weighs in at nearly 15 pounds, and could be considered bulky if you were hiking in for an out door shoot. I did purchase the tripod dolly as an addition to the tripod. My thoughts on this are mixed, as the dolly, even when locked down tight, allows for slight vibrations when moving or panning, so for any shot that requires movement I suggest that you not use the dolly. It is nice when shooting photographs inside buildings, allowing for an easy adjustments and saving time – but for video go with the stability of solid ground.
I give this tripod a solid 5 stars. It is an inexpensive alternative to a higher and more pricey system and will serve its purpose well. Even with the dolly you can get shots that work well.
Inexpensive, solid and sturdy. Allows for little vibrations while shooting. I don’t mid that it is heavy, it can hold 20 pounds of weight effortlessly and that is worth it’s bulkiness to me.
Stiff while panning. It takes a few tries to get the muscles in your body to remember the tension. There are screws that you can adjust to make panning easier, but if you mess up you can ruin the panning entirely. Not willing to take that chance – not yet at least.
Now the Admin take on this
As stated by Jeremy, there is a big difference between still and video tripods and trying to work with the wrong kind of support system is asking for troubles. I have shot with a vast array of tripods and while the Manfrotto 525MVB (or one of its derivatives) is a solid performer, there are other good alternatives. The most important feature to look for is that you want a tripod with a bowl to attach the head to and not just a flat surface to screw the head to. While the tilt/pan head is a great starting point, eventually you will be lured by the bowl and fortunately for Jeremy, the Ravelli AVTP Professional 75mm Tripod has a standard size 75mm bowl.
A bowl allows you to setup the tripod first, then make it level with the ground instead of having to adjust each leg separately until the whole thing is level. This is a major time saver and well worth the extra money.
There are a few other things to look for but I will keep these for a later post.
Moral of the story? While heavy, the Ravelli is a very affordable entry level video tripod with some pro features. Of course, you can’t expect it to perform as its 1000$ Italian cousin, but at a fraction of the price, it is hard to go wrong with this tool.